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Tracing Beijing by Bike - 2012

During a residency at in Beijing (through OCA) in 2011, I made a video-work based on the act of cycling through several busy crossroads repeatedly in a figure of eight-pattern. From the same source I made four pen and ink drawings, tracing the routes of my bike rides.

     The drawings are quite minimal, but they still tell about the rhythm of the traffic, the opening and closing of spaces, the struggle between drivers, bikers and pedestrians, the methods used to make progress: Raw power, measured risqué-taking, dexterity or nerve. Acts of individualism challenge the idea of China as a collectivistic society with an authoritarian culture. Groups exploiting the power of acting as a unit reconfirm the previously challenged preconceptions. Each element makes its mark: A dotted line becomes curvy as a result of moving in between cars, a blue circle grows large when a red light and heavy traffic brings on a long, involuntary stop.

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